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DIS Kicks Off Data Center Optimization Initiative

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LITTLE ROCK-The Arkansas Department of Information Systems kicked off an initiative to maximize the capacity of the state’s data center assets and unify the state IT infrastructure by hosting educational sessions for state agency directors and chief information officers June 29, 2017, at the Arkansas Real Estate Commission.

“The first step is an assessment of the IT landscape to include infrastructure costs across computing facilities in various agencies and IT personnel resources,” said DIS Director Yessica Jones. “We want to establish a baseline cost of IT in Arkansas state government and benchmark it against peer organizations to measure how we are doing and how efficient we are.”

The assessment, conducted by Gartner, Inc., one of the world’s leading information technology research and advisory companies, commenced during the first week of July. Among the data agencies were requested to provide to Gartner included hardware and software assets, technology-related maintenance expenses, IT personnel costs including benefits and IT workload owned operated by the agency.

“We tell all governor’s about the business risk,” said Doug Robinson, executive director of the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) who traveled to Arkansas to participate in the June 29 kickoff sessions. “Many times, we find that states are over investing in infrastructure they don’t need. You have to know your assets on the ground. That’s why we advocate for centralization.”

The long-term strategic mission of the Data Center Optimization initiative is to help ensure that sensitive citizen and government data, managed and maintained by the state, is housed in a highly secure location. It also seeks to strengthen the security of state IT operations, creating a more robust statewide cybersecurity program, as well as enhance the state’s continuity of operations and disaster recovery capabilities. 

Key outcomes for the initiative also include reduced overall IT costs in the areas of maintenance, management and power consumption, improved service delivery, and greater efficiency across executive branch agencies.

Once baseline IT costs, IT staff resource levels and IT workloads have been established and compared to those of similar enterprises, the next phases will involve the creation of an IT advisory group, the development of a roadmap to achieve a desired future state IT architecture and the development of a request for proposals (RFP) to assist in the implementation phase of the initiative. 

The assessment, roadmap and RFP development phases are expected to conclude in early November.

DIS is a cabinet level agency of Arkansas state government that provides information technology (IT) solutions to the public sector. DIS customers include state agencies, boards, commissions, city and county governmental entities, K-12 public schools, institutions of higher education, and the public safety community. 

DIS is responsible for the security, disaster recovery and Continuity of Operations Plan (COOP) functions for the state. Primary products and services provided by DIS include data center and hosting, voice (telephony), networking, professional services, storage and backup and operational services.

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